Book Review – Off to College

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. See the Recommended Reading section of our Resources page for more suggestions.

There are many good books out there for college parents and we recommend several of them.  But Off to College: A Guide for Parents by Roger H. Martin is a bit different.  Dr. Martin has served as a professor and college president, but more important than his titles is the inside view he has taken of the freshman year.  For an earlier book, Dr. Martin spent some time as a college freshman (a good reading experience on its own), but for this book he spent time visiting several colleges – talking to professors, staff members, administrators and many college students. Off to College shares an insider’s look at how college works.

Read moreBook Review – Off to College


It’s a Special Season for Parents: Graduation and Gifts!

Graduation is a special season for your student – and for you!  Whether your student is graduating from high school or from college, the event marks a milestone.  Your student is proud, you are proud, and everyone should celebrate. This is an achievement worthy of praise and of celebrating accomplishments – and the future.

For many families, graduation also means gifts, and many parents stress over finding just the right gift for this big occasion.  We’d like to share a few thoughts – and then offer some help to get your creative juices flowing as you try to think of the perfect gift.

What should you think about as you decide on a gift?

  • Of course, gifts of money are always appreciated. This is especially true if you know there is something that your student would like that might be a big expense, or something that you know your student would like to pick out himself.  Cash is always welcome.
  • As you think about a gift, think about everything that you know about your student. What does she love?  What are her interests?  What kinds of things excite her or are especially meaningful to her?  You know your student better than anyone.  Build on that knowledge to make your gift especially personal.
  • Think about the transition that your student is making. What’s next?  If your student is finishing high school, will he go on to college, living on his own, a new job, technical school?  If your student is graduating from college, is he going on to graduate school, career, a first apartment?  Find a gift that speaks to that new phase in his life.
  • Perhaps you’d like to focus on something commemorative and lasting. Something that your student will cherish and that will always show your pride in him.
  • You might like to aim for something sentimental. Perhaps there is something from childhood or a gift that represents earlier generations of the family.  You might share a piece of family jewelry or a treasured family heirloom.
  • And nothing can be more personal than a handwritten letter from you expressing your pride, your dreams for your student’s future, and your love.

Read moreIt’s a Special Season for Parents: Graduation and Gifts!


Book Review: A High School Parent’s Guide to College Success

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. See the Recommended Reading section of our Resources page for more suggestions.

A High School Parent’s Guide to College Success by Amy Baldwin and Brian Tietje should be on every parent’s reading list at the time their student starts high school.  It takes time to get a student ready for college and this book guides parents through the process.  Don’t wait until your student is ready to head to college.

In the race to college that the high school years have become, it is easy for parents to become overwhelmed and not know where to start or how to fit in.  We like that this book presents twelve essentials for parents to focus on.  No overwhelm here.  Twelve skills for parents to help their students develop.  Twelve skills that will prepare a student to start college on the right foot and then keep him headed in the right direction.

Read moreBook Review: A High School Parent’s Guide to College Success


Book Review: Your Freshman Is Off to College

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. See the Recommended Reading section of our Resources page for more suggestions.

There is a lot to like about Laurie Hazard and Stephanie Carter’s Your Baby Freshman Is Off to College. Written for parents as a month-by-month guide to the first year of college, the book clearly reflects the expertise and experience of the authors’ day-to-day interactions with first-year college students.

Read moreBook Review: Your Freshman Is Off to College


‘Tis the Season! 18 Holiday Gifts for Your College Student – 2017

It’s that time of year again.  Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday.  We’re thinking about family and friends and we’re thinking about gifts.  If you have a college student, or an about-to-be college student, you may be searching for some ideas for useful or fun gifts.

You know your student best, and can tap into interests and needs, but we’d like to offer some suggestions that may stimulate your imagination. We have some new suggestions for 2017, but we’ve offered some suggestions in the past.  Don’t stop with this post! Check out our category  Gifts, Books, and Reviews for nearly 75 additional suggestions.

Check out our ideas, and then let your own creativity take over!  If you have additional suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments!

Read more‘Tis the Season! 18 Holiday Gifts for Your College Student – 2017


Book Review – What To Do When You’re New

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

What to Do When You’re New: How to Be Comfortable, Confident, and Successful in New Situations is a book for parents and students alike.  We initially decided to review this book as something for parents to pass along to their students – as they begin college or move on to career.  However, we quickly discovered this is a useful book for parents as well.

As the author points out, we are all newcomers as various times in various settings.  Dr. Rollag’s information and tips will be helpful to everyone.  We suggest you give a copy to your student, and keep a copy for yourself as well.  Read it together and talk about it.

According to the author, “the secret to newcomer success is no secret at all.  It mostly comes down to our willingness and ability to do five key things: 1) Introduce ourselves to strangers, 2) Learn and remember names, 3) Ask questions, 4) Seek out and start new relationships, 5) Perform new things in front of others.”  After an early overview, the Dr. Rollag proceeds in Part 2 to devote a chapter to each of these skills.

Read moreBook Review – What To Do When You’re New


Book Review: Freshman Year of Life

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone.  Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

Freshman Year of Life: Essays that Tell the Truth About Work, Home, and Life After College is an easy-to-read volume of essays that students about to graduate from college or recently graduated from college will find helpful.  The fact that each essay is presented by a different author means that readers hear many voices.  Students will like the brevity and personal nature of the essays.  The stories feel real.

Many books have been written for students as they transition to the college years, but less is available for students who are about to enter the world beyond college.  Equating the first year(s) out of school to freshman year of college is a wonderful analogy.  How to navigate careers, bosses, friendships and real world skills, is information young adults need – and they need to hear from others who have also struggled to figure it all out.

Read moreBook Review: Freshman Year of Life


Book Review – Generation Z Goes to College

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

Generation Z Goes to College (order directly from Amazon) was written with a focus toward higher education professionals, but should be read by parents of these students as well.  As parents, we know our students intimately as individuals, but we don’t often think about the overview of the entire generation to which they belong.  Generation Z Goes to College helps parents see their students in the context of their generation.

Generation Z, as defined in this book, includes those students born between 1995 and 2010.  So these are the students now entering college.

Read moreBook Review – Generation Z Goes to College


Book Review – Out to Sea: A Parents’ Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone.  Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

Out to Sea: A Parents’ Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage by Kelly Radi is an easy-to-read, helpful book for parents about to send their child off to college.  Radi uses the metaphor of a ship setting sail to help parents understand, and become more comfortable with, the process of helping their child start out, and succeed, in college.

Part One of the book, Preparing to Set Sail, is a good reminder to parents that any good voyage requires preparation.  We like the practical advice that Radi provides, as well as her ability to help parents grapple with defining their own role.  The “helicopter parent” quiz in chapter 2 is particularly telling, and takes this often overused term and defines what it looks like in students’ and parents’ real life.  Parents can find out early how much of their own work they may need to do to help launch their child.  What follows is great practical advice on everything from money discussions, what to pack, and how to think about getting around campus.

Read moreBook Review – Out to Sea: A Parents’ Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage


Parents: Top Ten Books to Read – Or to Gift

Parenting is hard work.  Those of us who have been parents for a while know how difficult it can be.  And as parents, we sometimes seek advice from the “experts,” whether those experts are our friends, our own parents, our medical providers, or sometimes those who make it their business to work with and study parents.

We all need a little advice – and a little perspective.

Here’s a list of our top ten picks of good reads for parents as they think about their teenage, college age, or young adult.  But the key is that it helps to start thinking and building the foundation early.  Some of the experts tell us that our parenting style when our children are very young can influence how they function and cope as young adults.

We’ve reviewed all of these books and we think they can provide parents with guidance – or at least plenty of food for thought.  If you’re already a college parent, it’s not too late!  But if you have younger children, use these to get a head start.  If you know someone with younger children, consider one (or more) of these as gifts to give them a head start.

Read our reviews.  Pick one or two or three.  Read them. Share them. Form a book club. Start conversations.

Read moreParents: Top Ten Books to Read – Or to Gift